In this day and age, our computers are like extensions of our beings – they not only help us get through everyday tasks but are also contain some of our most sensitive information and data. That being the case, every person who owns a computer wants to spare no effort when it comes to their computer’s security. All versions of the Windows Operating System come with built-in security programs – Windows Firewall bundled with either Windows Defender (on Windows 8, 8.1 and 10) or Microsoft Security Essentials (on Windows 7 or older). However, many Windows users, believing that Windows’ built-in security measures simply aren’t enough, install third-party computer security programs (antivirus, anti-malware and firewall applications, for example).
Acquiring a third-party security program is extremely easy seeing as there are dozens out there for every niche, and there is no denying that there are various merits to the use of most third-party security programs. Be that as it may, though, those who install and use third-party computer security programs often find themselves needing to uninstall them in the future, and doing so is no easy task in most cases.
Some of the most common reasons why Windows users find themselves needing to uninstall third-party security programs include their licenses for the use of the programs expiring, the programs clashing with other elements on their computers and creating problems, and the users simply not wanting the programs on their computers anymore. Whatever your reason may be, uninstalling most third-party security applications is no walk in the park. If you want to successfully and completely uninstall a third-party security application from your computer, you need to:
- Press the Windows Logo key + R to launch a Run
- Type appwiz.cpl into the Run dialog and press Enter.
- You will be presented with a list of all the programs installed on your computer. Locate the third-party security program you want to uninstall in this list, right-click on it and click on Uninstall.
- Go through the uninstallation wizard to uninstall the application.
The application will have been successfully uninstalled by the time you reach the end of the uninstallation wizard, although you may need to restart the computer for the changes to take effect.
Uninstalling the third-party security application is, unfortunately, the easy part in the case of most applications. The hard part is getting rid of all the residual files and settings that most of these applications leave behind when they are uninstalled. If you do not get rid of the files and settings a security application leaves behind once you have uninstalled it, they will only cause trouble for you in the future. To get rid of any and all files and other elements left behind by a third-party security application that you have uninstalled, you need to:
- Click here to be directed to a list of the removal tools for all widely used third-party security applications.
- Go through the list and locate the entry for the security program you uninstalled from your computer.
- Click on the provided link for the respective application’s removal tool.
- Carefully read any instructions you find on the page the link directs you to, and download the removal tool from there.
- Once the removal tool has been downloaded, navigate to where it has been downloaded, locate it and double-click on it to launch it.
- Follow the onscreen instructions and go through the removal tool to get rid of anything and everything left behind by the uninstalled application.
Do not leave your computer vulnerable! If you uninstall a third-party security program and do not have another as a backup, be sure to enable your computer’s built-in security program (Windows Defender or Microsoft Security Essentials) to make sure it remains protected.